The proportion of households in Scotland with internet access was at a record high of 88 per cent in 2019, broadly in line with the prior year (87 per cent). Household internet access increased with net annual household income. Home internet access for households with a net annual income of £10,000 or less was 65 per cent in 2019, compared with almost all households (99 per cent) with a net annual income of over £40,000. Access differed by area of deprivation: 82 per cent of households in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland had internet access at home compared with 96 per cent of households in the 20% least deprived areas. Internet access also varied by tenure: 79 per cent of those in social rented housing had internet access compared with 91 per cent of households who owned their home.
Nearly 9 in 10 adults (88 per cent) in Scotland use the internet either for work or personal use, a steady increase over time from 65 per cent in 2007. Notably, there has been a significant increase in internet use amongst older adults aged 60+ (from 29 per cent to 66 per cent). There are lower rates of internet use among older adults than among younger adults. In 2019, almost all (99 per cent) adults aged 16-24 reported using the internet compared to 43 per cent of those aged 75+. Seventy-one per cent of adults who have some form of limiting long-term physical or mental health condition or illness reported using the internet, lower than for those who have some form of non-limiting condition or illness (90 per cent) and those who have none (94 per cent). The percentage of adults who do not use the internet was higher for those living in the 20% most deprived areas than for those in the 20% least deprived areas in Scotland. Internet use also increased with income.
Where and How Users Access the Internet
Almost all (97 per cent) adults who use the internet access it at home, followed by 58 per cent who access the internet on the move using a mobile phone or tablet. The proportion of internet users reporting that they access the internet using a smartphone increased from 81 per cent in 2018 to 86 per cent in 2019. The proportion of internet users using a smartphone to go online was greater than the proportion who accessed the internet using a PC or laptop (72 per cent). Younger internet users were more likely to access the internet using a smartphone than older users, with 98 per cent of 16-24 year olds using smartphones compared with 47 per cent of adults aged 75+ (an increase from 29 per cent in 2018). Older internet users were more likely than younger users to use a tablet to access the internet. Of those who do not use the internet, the most common reason that could convince people to go online was keeping in touch with family and friends at no extra cost, however this was only reported by eight per cent of this group.
Online Safety and Security
The most common online security measures taken by adults who make use of the internet were avoiding opening emails or attachments from unknown people (70 per cent) and avoiding giving personal information online (68 per cent). A higher proportion of internet users who were older or were living in the 20% most deprived areas answered that they adopted none of the online security measures mentioned.
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